Landon’s land. That’s not an official name for it, but the fantasy world that Landon Snow and eventually both his sisters are drawn into has a unique need for him. I am, of course, referring to the middle grade fantasy novels by R. K. Mortenson.
This month the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy (CSFF) Blog Tour is featuring the third in the Landon Snow series, Landon Snow and the Island of Arcanum (Barbour Publishing). One look at the cover or at the drawings at the beginning of each chapter, and you can see the promise of fun that awaits. For samples, see the Landon Snow web site.
Beyond the wonderful packaging—art work, paper quality, hard cover, colored print—the writing makes these books worthy additions to a fantasy-lover’s library, not to mention a desirable Christmas gift for any middle grade reader.
Here’s a sample:
Even Bridget’s little voice echoed in the tall marble lobby. “Do you think we should be in here?” Landon’s shoes squeaked as if he were on a basketball court. He finally resorted to walking on his tiptoes to keep them quiet. The chandelier sparkled high overhead. As they passed by the rowboat-shaped tombstone for the library’s famous founder, Bartholomew G. Benneford, Landon stopped, squeak, and motioned for his sisters to stop too.
“Listen,” he said, half turning his head. “What is that noise?”
It sounded rather like a drum. Like one of those big drums in a symphony orchestra—a kettle drum or timpani. Plumb. Plumb.
It was quiet.
And then— plumb.
“Over there,” said Bridget, her voice light as a feather.
At the far end of the lobby, opposite the log wall of Bart’s Reading Room, something round and large and red sat on the floor. Plumb. Bridget was right, the sound seemed to be coming from it. They crept closer, and a tiny swift movement caught Landon’s eye …
That little snippet gives you a taste of Mortenson’s voice. Writers talk about the importance of voice, though it is a difficult thing to define and harder to create. But when a writer has it, it seems to leap off the page.
In my opinion, Mortenson’s voice comes in part from his sense of humor and in part from his sense of intrigue. He isn’t afraid to judiciously use adverbs (those dreaded -ly’s that Browne-and-King disciples scrub off every page). Or rhyme, if it helps characterize the Odds, the former name of the people in the fantasy world. There’s a bit of tongue firmly pressing the cheek to his writing. It’s fun. But it’s serious too.
I highly recommend the entire series; all three books are small, easy to read, and delightful. But don’t take my word alone. Check out what the other bloggers on the tour are saying: